Conducting Personal Business on Company Time Essay
With increasingly demanding jobs and workloads increasing in quantity, add to that a limited time in employees’ schedules, a lot of personal business and personal errands are now being run from the comfort of the office during company time. This is an observation that has been made by both employer and worker and has been embraced to some extent, though other employers have decided to punish the culprits perpetrating the development. In this exposition, the causes and in general, the above topic as a whole will be expounded.
The workplace has become so hectic these days that workers find it hard to lift their fingers off their work stations and work areas. It has become so demanding to the extent of workers taking some unfinished assignments home in the evening after a long day’s work. Though it started as some isolated case, it is now commonplace to find employees carrying huge diaries and paperwork back home to complete the task away from the office. In her article Paul (1998) gives the example of Arlene Price, a Systems Analyst by profession.
The individual attests to the above fact by saying that in her view the difference between work tine and her own time has become blurred to the extent that she can freely walk out of the office and majestically stride towards the massage parlour on a Monday afternoon or participate in a morning lingerie sale. These sentiments try to explain why these days, giving oneself some time off during the working hours has become commonplace. There are some circumstances that make conducting personal business during working time inevitable.
Take for instance a call has been received and an emergency situation demands your immediate attention. It will be prudent for one to take an hour or two off from work and attend to the emergency. After accomplishing the task, they should rush back to the workplace. Must (2010) suggests that in such a circumstances, it is better for the worker to take a few hours off and take care of the urgency than take a whole day off for the same course. He continues by saying that it is better for an employee to accumulate all the errands, if not that urgent, and take a whole day off and attend to them.
He gives a more preferable alternative of handling all the personal commitments during the rostered days off. Although he gives a way of avoiding clashing with ones superiors in the workplace, his method will not apply in cases where a personal task should be handle during work time, like attending your child’s school function on a weekday. Unfortunately, this cannot wait for the moment an individual will be free. As part of work ethics that an employee ought to observe, attending to the company needs for the whole time is the most stressed followed by showing up at the work place at the agreed time.
A dilemma arises when the person has to attend to the emergencies and some urgent commitments. Do they wait till they are released or do they sneak out first to finish their personal engagements? Stillman says that “It is harder to be psychologically present when you are distracted by the demands of person life”. The statement explains that in as much as the boss will not be willing to release the junior to tackle personal matters during business hours, He will succeed in keeping the guy in the office, but the person will only be physically present.
Psychologically, they will be out of the office and will be distracted by their thoughts, which have diverted to the personal matter. The manager will like to hold the employee but in doing so the manager will observe a substantial reduction in productivity due to the employee’s lack of concentration and personal distractions. The boss will be indifferent between holding the worker to uphold company values and expectations, and releasing the worker as a sign that he is human and connects with them emotionally, contrary to what company policy requires.
In this whole scenario, there are a number of stakeholders who are affected by the actions of the employees. Both primary and secondary stakeholders feel the effects of such actions. The employee, a primary stakeholder will be affected in a variety of ways. When deciding to opt for personal engagements during work time, He might not meet the deadlines as expected of him due to lost work time. None completion of assigned tasks will attract the wrath of the supervisors who will punish the employee. The wage will be reduced, especially if calculated based on the piece rate system.
The level of trust between them will reduce and future responsibilities will be directed to the employee’s colleagues. This might also deny him future promotional prospects when such a deviation is not permitted by the superiors. The company also stands to gain on one hand and to lose on the other. If the employee takes the time off during working hours, the target output expected on that particular day will not be achieved. This reduces the proceeds expected from sale of such projected target which means the goals set will not be realised at the end of the period.
On the other hand, if the company has a policy that allows such breaks to undertake personal commitments, the employees will feel valued by the company. Such a gesture goes a long way in boosting employee morale and motivation. Such high esteems expressed by employees will result in very high productivity, high than what was projected from them by the management. Secondary shareholders also indirectly feel the effect. We do have the shareholders (owners of capital), the family members of the employees, the government and other competitors.
A company that encourages the habit of employees transacting their own business during work hours does not, in most cases, make proper utilisation of the resources availed by the shareholders. They do expect a reasonable return on their investment. This may not realised owing to lack of optimum use of the resource base in generating revenue for the entity, from which a return is awarded to the owners of capital. The government, on the other hand, charges taxes on all incomes generated from the economy. Lack of optimum utilisation of time by an entity reduces the level of income they generate at the end of the period from taxes charged.
Consequently this reduces the amount of revenue the government collects , which affects service delivery and smooth flow of operations in the government agencies and operations. The competitors will also benefit from a lack of optimum use of company time by the employees of an entity. Competitors usually like monitoring their rivals’ code of conduct and the flow of operations. In case a weakness is noticed, like the ineptitude nature of a rival’s employees, it is usually taken advantage of to outdo the other by increasing their productivity and discouraging such ways in their operations.
That move will have a direct impact on the market share of the slack concern and its overall image. Indeed doing personal work while at the office has become a common occurrence in modern day offices. When considered from the workers’ point of view, especially the private sector, much is expected from them at the end of the day. Most of the private sector employees work on contractual terms, which calls upon them to meet very strict deadlines and within a stressful working environment.
Some even spend the whole weekend detached from their relations with the excuse of working extra hours to meet deadlines and expectations from their employers. They find very little time to spend on their social lives, get to interact with their children or even get to acquaint themselves with current affairs. For this reason, they try to make up for their lack of interaction by sneaking out of the office to respond to their personal needs. This trend will even worsen into future owing to the work place becoming more and more demanding in terms of attention.
Incentives are being given left right and centre to encourage workers to work overtime and push productivity much higher. Social ties are bound to be broken and individuality will prevail in place of mutual coexistence. To treat this emerging trend, both the employer and the employee are expected to make some serious sacrifices together. From the individual perspective, certain sacrifices are expected. To start with, the workers are expected to give total concentration while at the office. Matters of the family should be left at home.
When at the work place, only work related issues should be tackled to ensure productivity continues as planned. In addition, the workers should try as much as possible to finish their work in time to avoid carrying office work to their homes for completion. What this will achieve is undoubtedly enormous. The family will receive the attention it deserves during weekends because the parents will be free. In the same breathe, the workers should add up all their personal commitments and either seek a day off to attend to them or wait till leave days or weekends to handle them.
Lastly, the workers should outsource some of the less demanding personal commitments to some trusted individuals at a fee to concentrate on the demands of their job since none can be a jack of all trades. The company, in a special way, has to accommodate such changes in workplace behaviour. It is expected that workers have a life other than that created in the work place. In view of this, the employees should be allowed time to have communion with their family and for some rest, all of which should not be downplayed.
The company should have leave days for their employees and this leave should be compulsory for all, though at different times. A change from the office to home setting is essential to give the mind a break from the routine office work that is boring. Even though it might cost the company, nannies could be hired to take care of kids of employees who have small children they cannot leave unattended at home. The company could also employ, as a benefit especially to the executives, a messenger who runs errands for them. Executives require ample time to think through various business decisions.
In so doing, they will be left with much of the time to make wise business decisions. To add to that, companies that are information based ICT firms can allow flexible working conditions whereby if one needs to attend to pressing personal issues, they can work from home and submit their work via the internet. However, entities like retail chains that require the physical presence of a person will not offer such windows of opportunity. But their human resource department can come up with their own unique packages that allow for breaks in between their tight schedules for an employee to have some fresh air.
Moreover, companies could give other incentives such as a fully paid family vacation to a serene place like the coastal areas or to oversee countries just for fun. Such incentives will ensure that work time is strictly adhered to by the employees. Much effort will be channelled towards completion of office duties to impress the boss because vacations provided will give the workers enough time to bond with their families and to reflect on their personal lives away from the office setting. In conclusion it is evident that the ever demanding workplace has really eaten into the free times of workers.
Add to that the stiff competitions from rival companies that offer the same products and/or services, the goals set in relation to the output targets and the high level of quality expected and the situation gets worse. This scenario forces workers to shift to personal engagements during company time to make up for the moments they were busy when, in fact, they should have addressed their personal matters. This diversion of attention affects both primary and secondary stakeholders in both beneficial and detrimental ways. Primary stakeholders here comprise the firm itself and the employees and their colleagues.
Secondary stakeholders are those affected indirectly like the government, shareholders, the employees’ immediate families and, to a some extent, the rival companies. It is this recent development that has forced the stakeholders to come up with ways to mitigate this inevitable eventuality. Employees have been forced to set aside the smaller chores and take care of them during weekday or when they are free while companies have had to create some ingenious ways to keep their workers at their desks without giving threats or taking punitive measures.
In essence, all stakeholders must play a part to ensure that all work is done while at the same time, personal businesses are tackled simultaneously to promote peaceful coexistence at the workplace and at the same time have productive parents at home. I believe that everyone is different we have different ethics and values. “A more elusive benefit of ethics is trust” Trevino Ch 1, Pg27. Employers will have to trust that their employees are doing the right thing all the time and not conduction personal business on company time.